HC Deb 31 July 1947 vol 441 cc616-8
25. Mr. Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what conditions govern the issue of entry permits for visitors; and, in particular, what evidence is required of the availability of accommodation for them.

Mr. Ede

As regards nationals of those countries for which visas are no longer required, there is no requirement of anything in the nature of an entry permit before the traveller starts on his journey. When he arrives at a United Kingdom port, if it is clear that he is coming here for a visit as distinct from a prolonged or indefinite residence, the practice is to grant leave to land unless there is some reason for refusal in individual cases on grounds of character, or on medical or other special grounds; and it is not the duty of the immigration officer to inquire whether the visitor has an assurance of accommodation. The recent case of a travel agency bringing to this country a large party of children for whose accommodation adequate arrangements had not been made beforehand indicates the importance of preventing such a party from starting until proper arrangements have been made for their reception and accommodation, and this matter is receiving my immediate attention.

Mr. Gammans

Was not the right hon. Gentleman definitely warned by the Travel Association, and also by the Workers' Travel Association, that this World Friendship Association had neither the finance nor the organisation to bring so many people to this country in the way they have done?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir, I have no recollection of that.

Mr. Titterington

Can my right hon. Friend tell me whether, having regard to Press comments on this matter, he will work in conjunction with the Ministry of Education in future?

Mr. Ede

I will work in conjunction with all the agencies that appear to be helpful in finding a solution of this matter. The last thing I desire to do is to prevent children from other countries coming here, and children from this country going abroad, on a mutual basis, because I am quite sure that, properly controlled, this is a most valuable piece of international work.

Mrs. Leah Manning

While agreeing with what my right hon. Friend has said about the importance of exchanges of young people, may I ask if it would not be advisable that such exchanges should be sponsored by bodies with experience, like the School Journeys Association?

Mr. Ede

I am considering how far it will be possible for this work to be done by the appropriate sponsoring bodies, but I have to be very careful not to be exclusive in this matter.

Mr. William Teeling

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that there is now an official body, the Travel Board, in operation, which organises holidays abroad and in this country? Is not what has happened proof that Ministries are not working together as they should to organise proper holidays for these young people?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I should be reluctant to place this kind of work in the hands of only one organisation.

Mr. Haworth

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the few cases where this trouble has occurred are only a small fraction of the large number of exchanges which have been made? I am glad that he agrees that the object itself is desirable.

Mr. Ede

I think that the people whose activities have aroused comment were rather overwhelmed by the large number of applications they received—a bit surprised to find how popular this country is with people abroad.

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